Roundup 2016 was held May 13-15 and we saw our biggest turnout of all time. Each year more and more Roughfishers spread the word, and once somebody comes to a Roundup, they always come back. It's too much fun to only try once! This year we had lots of anglers that came from out of state - they came from Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri and Tennessee. There were many new faces, and new friends were made over the weekend as we shared the great Root River.
Friday Jackie and I rolled into the campground and found folks already camping and fishing. Golden redhorse were up spawing on the broad gravel bars right below camp. It was raining quite steadily and because of this we decided to cancel the traditional float trip down the Root. Anglers who fished Friday caught a lot of nice goldens, plus a smattering of other species over a cold drizzly day.
Click on any of the images to enlarge them
Graceclaw, a first-time Roundupper, crossed the river and caught an addition to his lifelist - northern hogsucker! He also found some nice golden redhorse and a chunky rainbow trout. Fish were biting pretty good in the rain.
Moose and Goldenfishberg showed up as the rain subsided, and only minutes went by before a nice fish was caught. Here's Moose439 with a strong Root River carp.
Soon construction began on the Oar Fort, also known as the Beat Laboratory.
Corey experimented with a new centerpin setup and caught moneyes, redhorse and trout. Dutch landed a spectacular hogsucker.
After dark it got colder as a front moved in. Many folks gathered around a roaring bonfire to stay warm and chat about various unmentionable Roughfishy things. The stories told around campfires at Eagle Cliffs are legendary.
Some fished along the riverbank next to lanterns and bonfires - they caught stonecats, hogsuckers and some redhorse, but no shovelnose sturgeon showed this year.
Saturday morning dawned clear and cold with temps hovering around freezing. Guys that had come from Southern states were a bit uncomfortable overnight sleeping in their cars, and wore every bit of clothing they'd brought to keep warm. Once the sun hit the river valley it warmed up quickly. Fishing was steady for those who put in the time, and more folks arrived at camp in anticipation of the Species Derby which started at High Noon.
One lucky camper found a hatful of morels!
Folks grabbed their official Roundup shirts and added all sorts of cool prizes to the table.
The Derby was about to begin. You have three hours to catch and photograph as many different species as you can. This year's field of contestants was huge, probably over 50! At noon everyone scattered out along the river and began to fish with a purpose.
Some good catches were being made, and lots of redhorse were being added to stringers for the afternoon feast.
However, nobody got out to a big lead.
Tony S trotted through a run and caught all 3 trout species - brook, brown and rainbow! I believe that's the first time in Derby history all three have been caught, and it gave Tony a big boost in the rankings.
Tony also fooled a big golden redhorse, but not as big as Tyler's -
Tyler Goodale, a first-time Roundupper from Missouri, caught a very special redhorse. It measured out larger than the current World and MN state record golden redhorse, records both currently held by roughfish.com member Superfrog. However, Tyler's fish was identified as a black redhorse by fisheries experts and the paperwork is still stalled 9 months later because of objections from respected Roughfishers. My opinion is that this fish was a golden redhorse, and should be the next World record. This would make it the third year in a row that the record has been broken at Roundup! It makes my 7 year record golden seem like a dynasty from 2007 - 2014. Perhaps we will see resolution to this fish tale before Roundup 2017. However it turns out, it was one hell of a nice fish and Tyler deserves a big congratulations!
At 3:00, a turkey call sounded and the Species Derby was over. Everybody gathered around the prize table to register their catches with the judges.
It turned out there was a three-way tie for first place! Corey, Tony S and Dr. Flathead each caught 5 species. It was decided that they would compete in a sudden death fish-off down at the Bend.
Three fierce competitors meet for a brief photograph before heading into a battle which only one will survive. None of these Roundup veterans had ever become Derby Champion and hoisted the Silver Redhorse Trophy before.
A few very tense minutes went by, and the crowd became hushed with anticipation...
In the end, Corey landed a brown trout and became 2016 Species Derby Champ! Congratulations Corey!
Redhorse that were kept found their way up to camp, and preparations began for the sucker fry. One shorthead came in late, after the rest of the fish were fileted. It was still very much alive, so it was decided that we would "pardon" this fish and let it swim free. This will now be a new Roundup tradition and will henceforth be called the Pardoning Of The Sucker ceremony.
We were well-stocked for our annual fish fry!
Jenny K and Evan drug a seine through the run just below camp while others prepared the Feast.
There are so many interesing fishes living in the Root River in Southeastern Minnesota.
Grinding and mixing sucker balls.
Tailgating, Roughfish style!
Soon Frymaster Angry Mongrel was cranking out fried sucker balls. A huge thanks to everybody that helped prepare the feast, or brought some food to contribute!
Dr. Flathead nabbed a machete for his Derby prize, and put it to use right away.
Somebody saw a rather large snake by the riverbank in camp, and Fishingdude14 grabbed it for a few photos. It's a Fox Snake, and I'm pretty sure we saw the same snake last year.
American Currents magazine ran an interview with Corey talking about the Roundup.
I have tons more, but there's only so much you can post. See y'all down on the Root next year!